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Vehicular Homicide / Manslaughter

Car accidents happen every day in Dallas and occasionally these accidents lead to the death or serious bodily injury of another person. If you have been charged with vehicular homicide or vehicular manslaughter throughout Dallas and the surrounding areas, you could face serious penalties if convicted of the charges against you. For example, an individual convicted of vehicular manslaughter could face a prison sentence, fines, a driver’s license suspension, loss of an ability to vote or hold public office, in inability to pursue certain professional occupations or educational opportunities, and/or a possibly permanent criminal record.

Under Texas law, an individual can be charged with vehicular manslaughter if they cause the death of another person while operating a motor vehicle and committing any of the following offenses:

Even if you did not intend to kill or cause the death of another person while driving your car or the death was the result of an accident or mistake, you can still be charged with this serious offense.

Dallas Vehicular Manslaughter Lawyer

If you have been charged with a manslaughter while driving in Dallas, or any of the surrounding areas in Texas, including Garland, Grand Prairie, Irving, Denton, Plano, McKinney, Fort Worth, Arlington, Mesquite, Carrolton, Richardson, Lewisville or Frisco, contact The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy. Attorney Richard McConathy will listen to the facts of your particular case and make every effort to help you identify defenses or mitigating factors that are unique to your situation. Call The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy for a free consultation at (972) 445-4300 about your vehicular manslaughter charges.


Dallas Vehicular Manslaughter Information Center


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Vehicular Manslaughter Defined in Texas

Although there is not a specific statute in Texas defining vehicular manslaughter or vehicular homicide, an individual can still be charged with this offense through a variety of Texas statutes.

Vehicular Manslaughter – Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 19.04 - If an individual recklessly causes the death of another person, they can be charged with manslaughter. If the individual is operating a motor vehicle while recklessly causing the death of another person, they can be charged with vehicular manslaughter under this statute. Additionally, a person can be charged with vehicular manslaughter if they recklessly operate a motor vehicle and cause the death of another person under Tex. Transp. Code Ann. § 545.401. Vehicular homicide is usually punishable as a felony of the second degree.  

Criminally Negligent Homicide – Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 19.05 – An individual can also be charged with vehicular homicide if they operate a car with criminal negligence and cause the death of another person. This offense is generally punishable as a Texas jail felony.

Racing on a Highway – Tex. Transp. Code Ann. § 545.420 – If an individual participates in a race, vehicle speed competition or contest, drag race or acceleration contest, test of the vehicle operator’s endurance, or to make a speeding record and causes the death of another individual, they can be charged with vehicular manslaughter.

Driving with a Suspended License – Tex. Transp. Code § 521.457 – If an individual causes the death of another person while operating a motor vehicle without a valid license or without having vehicle liability insurance, they can be charged with vehicular manslaughter. This offense is typically punishable as a Class A misdemeanor.


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Dallas Penalties for Vehicular Manslaughter

Vehicular manslaughter can result in the penalties listed below, according to Chapter 12 of the Texas Penal Code. However, these punishments can vary depending on the alleged offender’s previous convictions, classification of the victim, severity of the offense and whether the offender is a habitual offender.

  • A Class A misdemeanor offense can result in a jail sentence up to one year and/or a fine up to $4,000.
  • A state jail felony conviction can lead to a state jail sentence from 180 days to two years and/or a fine not more than $10,000.
  • An offense classified as a felony of the third degree can lead to a minimum prison sentence of two years up to ten years in prison and/or a fine not exceeding $10,000.
  • Second degree felony convictions can result in a minimum of two years and a maximum of 20 years in prison and/or a fine not more than $10,000.
  • An offense that is a felony of the first degree can result in a prison sentence ranging from five years to 99 years or life imprisonment and/or a fine up to $10,000.

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Similar Texas Vehicular Offenses

Intoxication Manslaughter – Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 49.08 – If a person operates a motor vehicle while intoxicated from the alcohol and/or controlled substances and causes the death of another person, they can be charged with this offense, which is another type of vehicular manslaughter. This offense is typically punishable as a felony second degree. It can increase to a felony of the first degree if the victim is a firefighter, emergency medical services personnel or peace officer.

Intoxication Assault – Tex. Penal Code § 49.07 – If an individual operates a motor vehicle while intoxicated through the consumption of drugs and/or alcohol and causes serious bodily injury to another person as a result of the intoxication, they can be charged with this offense. This offense can result in a felony of the third degree, but increase to a felony of the second degree if the victim was a firefighter, peace officer or emergency medical services personnel.

Leaving the Scene of an Accident – Tex. Transp. Code Ann. § 550.021 – If an individual does not immediately stop at the scene of an accident causing death or injury to any person, or as close to the scene as possible without obstructing more traffic than necessary, and remain at the scene until permitted to leave, they can be charged with this offense. This offense is generally punishable as a felony of the third degree.  


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Resources in Dallas for Vehicular Manslaughter

Texas Penal Code - DWI – This link is to section 49.04 of the Texas Penal Code, which defines driving while intoxicated in Texas and the potential penalties for a conviction. The Texas Penal Code contains all of the criminal laws in Texas; Chapter 49 pertains to all of the state’s intoxication laws.

Texas Transportation Code – This link is to chapter 550 of the Texas Transportation Code, which defines the requirements an individual is supposed to follow after being involved in an accident, and the penalties for failing to follow these requirements.

Texas Penal Code – Criminally Negligent Homicide – This link is to chapter 19 of the Texas Penal Code, which defines criminally negligent homicide in Texas and the potential penalties for a conviction. The Texas Penal Code contains all of the criminal laws in Texas; Chapter 19 pertains to criminal homicide.


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The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy | Fort Worth Vehicular Homicide Attorney

Contact The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy today for a consultation about your homicide while driving offense throughout Dallas County in Texas. Richard McConathy is an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Dallas who will help you achieve the best possible outcome for your particular case. Contact The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy at (972) 445-4300 for a consultation about your alleged vehicular manslaughter throughout Dallas County in Texas and the surrounding counties of Denton County, Collin County and Tarrant County.

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People ask every day how I'm not in prison, and my answer is to recommend this firm. Thank you again Richard, Brian, Amanda, Christina and Cynthia. God Bless. Nicholas D.
Tarrant County DWI
I can’t say enough great things about the attorneys at this law firm. Within a few months they had my case, which I thought I was going to lose, dismissed and put my life back on track. I would recommend their firm to anyone and everyone who is in need of legal help. Leslie L.
Denton County DWI
As a free man, I would highly recommend this law firm to anyone who is in serious trouble. They will do anything they can to save their clients. In my opinion they are the two best DWI lawyers in the state. Jeffrey F.
Dallas County DWI Intoxication Assault
I would highly recommend this law firm to anyone who has run into some trouble anywhere they might get a DWI. Stephanie C.
Denton County DWI